Working memory circuit as a function of increasing age in healthy adolescence: a systematic review and meta-analyses
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Working memoryability maturesthroughpubertyand early adulthood. Deficits inworkingmemoryare linkedtothe risk of onset of neurodevelopmental disorders such as schizophrenia, and there is a significant temporal over-lap between the peak offirst episodepsychosisrisk and working memorymaturation. Inorder to characterize thenormal working memory functional maturation process through this critical phase of cognitive development weconducted a systematic review and coordinate based meta-analyses of all the available primary functional mag-netic resonance imaging studies (n = 382) that mapped WM function in healthy adolescents (10–17 years) andyoung adults (18–30 years). Activation Likelihood Estimation analyses across all WMtasks revealed increased ac-tivation with increasing subject age in the middle frontal gyrus (BA6) bilaterally, the left middle frontal gyrus(BA10), the left precuneus and left inferior parietal gyri (BA7; 40). Decreased activation with increasing agewas found in the right superior frontal (BA8), left junction of postcentral and inferior parietal (BA3/40), andleft limbic cingulate gyrus (BA31). These results suggest that brain activation during adolescence increasedwith age principally in higher order cortices, part of the core working memory network, while reductions weredetected in more diffuse and potentially more immature neural networks. Understanding the process bywhich the brain and its cognitive functions mature through healthy adulthood may provide us with new cluesto understanding the vulnerability to neurodevelopmental disorders.